NATASHA BEDINGFIELD, TONY BENNETT, CELINE DION, JOSH GROBAN, SEAN KINGSTON, TAYLOR SWIFT,ASHLEY TISDALE AND CARRIE UNDERWOOD SET TO LIGHT UP THE NIGHT FOR NBC'S 10TH ANNUAL 'CHRISTMAS IN ROCKEFELLER CENTER' NOVEMBER 28 (8-9 P.M. ET/PT)
Nick Lachey, Al Roker ("Today"), and Ashley Tisdale to Co-Host Live Holiday Special for the Celebration of the 75TH Tree Lighting Ceremony
NEW YORK � November 19, 2007 � NBC heralds the arrival of the holidays on Wednesday, Nov. 28 (8-9 p.m. ET/PT) with a dazzling display of musical talent and the lighting of the world's most famous Christmas tree during the 10th annual "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" telecast. Co-Hosted by Nick Lachey, Al Roker ("Today"), and Ashley Tisdale the star-studded annual tree lighting extravaganza will feature Natasha Bedingfield, Tony Bennett, Celine Dion, Josh Groban, Sean Kingston, Taylor Swift, Ashley Tisdale and Carrie Underwood performing current hits and holiday classics from Rockefeller Center in New York City.
Broadcast again in high definition, the viewers can expect holiday greetings from many of their favorite NBC stars including Mariska Hargitay (NBC's "Law & Order: SVU"), Howie Mandel (NBC's "Deal or No Deal"), Hayden Pantierre (NBC's "Heroes") Michelle Ryan (NBC's "Bionic Woman") and Donald Trump (NBC's "The Celebrity Apprentice") along with other surprises as the most famous Christmas tree in the world is lit.
The tradition of the Rockefeller Christmas tree dates back to the Great Depression. First erected in 1933, the tree was decked with 700 lights and placed in front of the then eight-month-old RCA Building, now the GE Building. The Christmas tree gathering was enhanced in 1936 with the opening of the Rockefeller Plaza outdoor ice-skating pond. NBC-TV televised the first tree lighting in 1951 on "The Kate Smith Show" and as part of the nationwide "Howdy Doody" television show from 1953-55.
Prior to the network special, WNBC NBC's New York flagship station will broadcast an additional live hour of the special (7-8 p.m. ET). "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" is produced by Universal Media Studios Bob Holmes is the executive producer.
ABOUT THE HOSTS
Nick Lachey is a multi-platinum album recording artist and the star of one of the most successful shows in MTV history. Nick burst on to the scene as the front man to the Grammy-nominated group 98 Degrees. Their first smash hit came in 1997 as Invisible Man rose to number 12 on the charts. Follow-up singles Because of You and The Hardest Thing both reached the top 5, while I Do (Cherish You) peaked at No. 13. These songs propelled their second album 98 Degrees and Rising to quadruple-platinum status. Lachey released his first solo album, SoulO in 2003 in the midst of the fervor surrounding the hit MTV TV series, Newlyweds. In 2006, he released his second solo album entitled What's Left of Me, which debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart and went gold. Lachey continues to be a presence on-screen, appearing in the WB series Charmed and ABC's Hope & Faith. In 2005, he stared as a stockbroker-turned-jeweler in The Hard Easy. Nick will soon travel back to his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio to assemble a choir of handpicked local talent to compete in a live four-night musical event series on NBC called "Clash of the Choirs". Nick's choir will compete alongside others assembled by musical superstars Michael Bolton, Patti LaBelle, Kelly Rowland and Blake Shelton. He is also hard at work in the studio working on his third solo album.
Off-screen and off-stage, Nick serves as spokesman for the Internet safety group INOBTR ("I Know Better"). He is also co-owner of the Tacoma Rainiers, a AAA affiliate of the Seattle Mariners.
Al Roker has been the weather and feature reporter on NBC News' Today since January 1996. Until January of 2000, Roker also served as the weekday weather forecaster for News Channel 4's early evening newscast Live at 5 on WNBC-TV, NBC's flagship owned and operated station in New York City. New York magazine has twice named Roker Best Weatherman. He came to WNBC-TV as a weekend weathercaster in December 1983 from WKYC-TV, the NBC Television Station in Cleveland. Roker began his broadcasting career while still in college by landing a job as a weekend weatherman WTVH-TV in Syracuse, N.Y. in 1974. After graduation he moved on to weathercasting jobs in Washington, D.C. (1976-1978) and Cleveland, Ohio (1978-1983). He is a recipient of the American Meteorological Society's prestigious Seal of Approval and has been a pioneer in the use of computer graphics for weathercasting. Roker has reported live for "Today" throughout the years from some of history's worst storms including most recently when Hurricane Wilma threatened the Florida coast during one of the worst hurricane seasons on record. Among his interview highlights, Roker conducted an exclusive interview with Peanuts creator Charles Shultz shortly before his death from colon cancer. Roker's annual "Lend a Hand Today" trip takes him across the nation as he visits a different not-for-profit organization daily to deliver donations each charity needs to do its good work.
Recently named one of Teen People's 25 Hottest Stars Under 25, Ashley Tisdale is best known for her role as "Sharpay" in the television phenomenon "High School Musical" and its hugely successful sequel "High School Musical 2." Tisdale made music history by being the first female artist to ever debut with two songs simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100 chart ("Bop To The Top" and "What I've Been Looking For," both from the triple-platinum "High School Musical" soundtrack). In addition, Tisdale released a chart-topping album of her own "Headstrong" in 2007. Warner Bros. Records has also released a DVD, entitled "There's Something About Ashley: The Story of Headstrong," which gives fans an intimate peek into the life of the singer and actress. Tisdale rose to popularity as "Maddie," a hotel candy counter clerk and baby-sitter of devious twin boys who live in The Tipton Hotel on the hit Disney Channel series "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody." Also, Ashley is the voice of Candace Flynn in the upcoming animated Disney TV series called "Phineas and Ferb." Other acting credits include "Donnie Darko" with Jake Gyllenhaal, and recurring roles on "The George Lopez Show," "Still Standing" and "The Hughleys." Guest star roles include "Grounded for Life," "Strong Medicine," "Boston Public" and "Seventh Heaven," "Malcolm in the Middle," "Charmed," "Hannah Montana," "Once and Again."
ABOUT THE PERFORMERS
With a number one single in America, over six million units shifted worldwide,
Natasha Bedingfield is the UK's biggest female pop star bar none. Natasha took the US by storm last year with the first British chart topping hit by a female in almost twenty years. 'Vanity Fair' singled her out as the spearhead of a new Britpop invasion; she became one of the faces of Gap (alongside Mia Farrow and Common); she jammed with her hero Prince at a private party; Bono enlisted her in his (RED) campaign; and her song 'Unwritten' proved to be the most played song on mainstream American radio last year. Natasha blasted her way up the charts in 2004 with her typically outspoken take on the lifestyles of independent young women. To critics and fans alike, Natasha was "The Single Girl". On her new album, the single girl is all about exploring relationships.
Taken from her forthcoming album, Pocketful Of Sunshine "Love Like This", Natasha's first single featuring Sean Kingston, is a playful yet pointed representation of Natasha's shifting priorities. "I want to make music that matches who I am. My first album was about independence and seizing the moment. I'm still very independent and I find it hard to let go of that freedom, but I'm in a different place now. I've been dating, searching for a partner, looking for Mr Right� This album reflects those feelings and that journey."
Recorded in Los Angeles, Natasha has co-written and co-produced the album, working with a stellar team of talent including Mike Elizondo of Eminem/Dre/50 Cent fame, Adam Levine, Greg Kirsten (Beck, Lily Allen) and previous collaborators (Steve Kipner, Andrew Frampton, Wayne Wilkins, Danielle Brisebois and Wayne Rodrigues), and long time Madonna collaborator Pat Leonard. "I lived right by the beach where I was working, so I could head straight into the studio every morning. The way I write is I brainstorm and jam it out, and it helps to have everything set up to capture the moment."
Tony Bennett the world's most boyish octogenarian, a vital musical artist at the peak of his powers, Tony Bennett is living proof that fairy tales can indeed come true when you're young at heart. With over 50 million records sold world-wide and platinum and gold albums to his credit, Bennett has received fifteen Grammy Awards including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He has crossed generational lines, being embraced by the MTV generation due to his unforgettable "MTV Unplugged" episode and the resulting recording of the same name, which garnered the singer Grammy's top award, "Album of the Year." Bennett became a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2005, was named an NEA Jazz Master in 2006, and was recently named the recipient of Billboard Magazine's prestigious Century Award, in honor of his outstanding contributions to music. He was won two Emmy Awards and a Cable Ace Award. "Duets - An American Classic," became his highest charting and best-selling album to date, and won three Grammy Awards. The companion NBC television special "Tony Bennett: An American Classic," earned Rob Marshall a Directors Guild Award for his and scored Bennett his second Emmy with the special itself winning 7 Emmys -- making it the most honored television program of 2007. The DVD version of the special earned platinum sales status. His most recent CD releases include "Tony Bennett Sings The Ultimate American Songbook, Vol. 1" and a deluxe version of his beloved holiday recording, "Snowfall."
Celine Dion's eagerly anticipated first full-length new studio in five years "Taking Chances" is released this month following 2003's multi-platinum "One Heart." In addition, Dion is completing an astounding sold-out five-year run - selling more than three million tickets -- of her Las Vegas show, "A New Day," in December 2007. Having sold more than 180 million albums around the world since her American debut in 1990, Celine Dion is one of the most immediately recognized, widely respected and successful performers in pop music history. In addition to numerous US and international gold, platinum and multi-platinum certifications, Celine Dion has seen two of her albums -- Falling Into You and Let's Talk About Love -- each achieve RIAA Diamond status in recognition of sales of more than 10 million copies in the US alone (each selling 30 million worldwide). She has been awarded five Grammy Awards including 1992's Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal (for "Beauty and the Beast"), 1996's Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album (for Falling Into You) and 1998's Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal
Performance (for "My Heart Will Go On" Love Theme from 'Titanic). Both "Beauty and the Beast" and "My Heart Will Go On" received Best Song Academy Awards for their respective years of release. In 2004, after achieving then-total global sales of more than 175 million albums, Celine Dion was presented with the World Music Award for the Best-selling Female Pop Artist of All Time. She has just announced that she will embark on her Taking Chances World Tour in 2008/2009 with stops in Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe, before heading back to North America next August for 45 shows throughout US and Canada.
Josh Groban burst on to the international music scene in 2001 with the release of his self-titled debut album featuring the hit single, "To Where You Are." His follow up CD "Closer" with the smash hit "You Raise Me Up" brought enormous success to the young singing sensation. He has made scores of television appearances beginning with Ally McBeal and continuing with countless performances on Oprah Winfrey, Good Morning America, The Today Show, two PBS specials, the Superbowl, the Oscars and the closing ceremonies of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics with an audience of over 2 billion people. His first PBS Special went on to become the No. 1 selling DVD of 2002. He follows his chart-topping 2006 release "Awake" with his holiday record "Noel."
Sean Kingston, a 17 year old native of Jamaica, is not just a new face in popular music, he's accomplished the rare task of creating new genre where rap, reggae, dancehall, pop and remarkable songwriting all combine into something totally fresh. Add in Sean's family roots which cite Buju Banton as his uncle and Jamaican legendary producer Jack Ruby as his grandfather and you have one of the most exciting debuts this year. It's no wonder then that Sean is quickly becoming a household name with his first single "Beautiful Girls," a song cross-pollinating on both urban and pop radio stations coast to coast. The unmistakable hit boasts the instant hook of "Stand by Me" which acts like a muse for the song produced by savant J.R. Rotem. Sean is the first signing on JR's label Beluga Heights/Epic and his debut album "Eyes Above Water" is due out on July 31.
In addition to his hit single, Sean has two certified hi- hop knockers on his hands with "Colors 2007" and the reggae remix of "Colors." The original version is a lyrical brouhaha with Kingston showing he can hang with the acclaimed guest MCs - Miami Mayor Rick Ross and the multi-platinum west coast superstar, The Game. The reggae remix of "Colors 2007" is a Caribbean hailstorm featuring the legendary Vybez Cartel and the always profound Kardinal Offishall. Both records maintain the same theme of unity and self-reflection.
Just shy of 18 years old, Taylor Swift is already a Platinum-selling country artist. This summer, her self-titled debut album spent 8 consecutive weeks at #1 on Billboard's Country Albums Chart. Swift is the only country artist to do so this year. Deemed "Country's Teen Queen" by People magazine, Swift is the #1 Country artist on MySpace, with over 27 million song streams. She is the youngest artist ever to be named Songwriter/ Artist of the Year by the Nashville Songwriters Association International, an honor bestowed upon her by her peers. In fact, Swift is the first female solo artist in Country music history to write or co-write every song on a Platinum-selling debum. She was lauded by the Los Angeles Times as "One to Watch in 2007," recognized as a "Young Up-and-Comer" by Daily Variety and featured in Blender magazine's 2007 "Hot Report" issue. Swift won CMT's "Breakthrough Video of the Year" award in April 2007 for her hit "Tim McGraw", and was also nominated by the Academy of Country Music for Top New Female Vocalist. Just this month, Swift received the CMA Horizon Award for career development, the same honor that went to Carrie Underwood in 2006. Swift wraps up the month of November with an American Music Award nomination for Favorite Female Country Artist alongside Carrie Underwood and Martina McBride. Swift recently released a CD/DVD limited deluxe edition of her Platinum+ self-titled debut which includes three new studio tracks. Her NBC Sounds of the Season: The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection is available exclusively at Target.
"American Idol's" 2005 champion, Carrie Underwood is now a two-time Grammy winner and the reigning Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music Female Vocalist of The Year. In addition to her 2 Grammys, 4 CMA Awards and 5 ACM awards, her trophy mantle includes 8 Billboard Music Awards, 4 CMT Awards, 2 People's Choice Awards, an American Music Award, and more. Her debut album, Some Hearts, sold over 6 million copies, spawned 5 #1 singles and became the best-selling, single-disc country album by a solo female in the new millennium, with sales topping 1.3 million copies this year alone. Some Hearts is also the best selling female country album of 2005, 2006 and 2007.